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Xcel prepares for upgrade at RIAC

The $11.5 million Xcel Energy upgrade for the Roswell International Air Center area is expected to begin in April. (Submitted Graphic)

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Expect new construction by Xcel Energy near the Roswell International Air Center in April as a major upgrade occurs, including the building of a new substation a bit north of East Hobson Road.

“Obviously there is economic development opportunity out there,” said Michael McLeod, Xcel’s regional manager for community and economic development. “At the same time we need to upgrade our system because it is aging, we have worked with city leaders to find out what their needs are for the future.”

McLeod said that the $11.5 million project is expected to begin with upgrading distribution lines in mid- to late April. Distribution lines from substations to customers will change from 4-kilovolts to 15-kilovolts, which will increase reliability and capacity at the air center as businesses, Eastern New Mexico University-Roswell campus and industrial customers are expected to grow in coming years.

About the same time, construction on the new substation to serve the area is expected to start.

McLeod added that part of the project will involve replacing electrical lines owned by the city of Roswell with lines that Xcel will own and maintain in the future.

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He said the work will involve both local workers and contract crews.

Xcel recently completed a $24 million transmission loop project in January, which brought 115-kilovolt transmission lines throughout the city.

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